Welcome to Libertas Chambers Leading specialists in Business Crime, Professional Discipline & Asset Recovery

Libertas is a dynamic and progressive chambers, offering a range of specialisms across a national presence.

Libertas Chambers

A Forward-thinking set of chambers with a national presence

Libertas Chambers boasts an impressive array of experienced barristers in several practice areas.  We took advantage of recent challenges to rethink the model of a chambers based on criminal and regulatory law and set up on a virtual basis.

This enabled us to create a national service for solicitors and clients by having high quality conference suites in major cities. In London we retain premises in the heart of the City.

Our members provide a high-quality service with access to modern facilities throughout the country.

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Areas of Practice & Expertise

Our carefully selected and highly skilled collection of experts provide a national and international service to all Libertas clients. Providing you with a first-class advocacy and advisory service across the following areas (and many more).

If you would like to discuss an alternative area of law please contact our clerking team who will provide you with immediate advice and support.

Business Crime

Our barristers have established national and international reputations for their expertise, experience and confidence in Fraud, Financial Services and Business Crime and Compliance – they are consistently ranked as leaders in the field. We advise and represent individuals and entities in relation to financial, regulatory, and fraud investigations in the UK, and overseas. Our clients include financial institutions and corporations, as well as: politicians entrepreneurs company directors and chief executives chartered accountants lawyers IFAs and medical and other professionals We therefore have accumulated experience dealing with the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency, HMRC, National Trading Standards, FACT, as well as other investigating and prosecuting bodies. International Business Crime Many of our cases have an international dimension and we are accordingly experienced dealing with overseas authorities including the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and EU, Indian and Australian authorities. Practitioners specialise in trans-jurisdictional terrorist financing, proscribed wildlife trading, and export control violations. Members of our team have previously worked in the banking and commercial sectors and within their regulatory regimes. Others have had advisory and disciplinary roles regulating the accounting (FRC, ACCA, CIMA) and medical (GMC) sectors.  Some of us prosecute for these agencies as well as defending, and advise on and conduct internal investigations, or act as disclosure counsel. We understand how regulators and prosecution authorities work. Practitioners lecture and advise on corporate responsibility for human rights. We are often involved in an advisory role at the start of regulatory or criminal investigations. Our experience, attention to detail and dedication to our clients assists them in responding appropriately with the object of avoiding prosecution. When proceedings are commenced, we work to ensure that our clients receive the best advice and representation and, most importantly, a fair hearing. Business Crime Conduct Our work covers a wide range of conduct, recently including: Bribery and corruption, including European government officials Cartel Offending Commercial property fraud Corporate compliance with human rights obligations Environmental protection, including carbon credit and land fraud, wildlife trading and international illegal logging EU, National and Devolved Government grant scheme frauds Export Control violations Fraud and cheating in the sports sector (cricket, rugby, horse-racing) Fraudulent trading Insider trading, market manipulation and abuse Insolvency and bankruptcy offending Intellectual property theft Investment (boiler-room) fraud and Ponzi mis-selling Money laundering, restraint, confiscation and asset forfeiture Pension mis-selling and liberation frauds Professional discipline Tax Evasion SPV’s inc. film and insurance schemes MTIC & carousel fraud PAYE, payroll and C.I.S. frauds Duty diversions Terrorist financing Trading Standards prosecutions in clothing, energy switching and ticketing sectors Web-site ghosting and internet advance-fee frauds Whistle-blowing and deferred prosecution agreements We advise and represent well-known corporate clients and individuals in sensitive situations with discretion as well as vigour. Please call our Clerking team on 020 7036 0200 to discuss any particular requirements you may have.

Defence Crime

Libertas Chambers brings together some of the country’s leading criminal defence specialists. Exceptional juniors and renowned Queens Counsel provide quality representation from the Supreme Court, through the Crown Courts across London and the Circuits and in the Magistrates Court. Members of Libertas Chambers also regularly appear in quasi-criminal jurisdictions where their experience in the criminal courts provides a cutting edge service in regulatory and professional disciplinary proceedings. Chambers accept instructions in both publicly and privately funded work and members provide specialist and strategic advice at all stages of a criminal case, from pre-charge investigation through to trial and appeal. Members of Chambers have appeared in some of the most high-profile criminal cases of recent times, including Operation Elveden (selling stories about Prince William and Prince Harry to The Sun), R v H and C [2004] 2 AC 134 (leading case on disclosure), R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8 (clarifying an error in the law in accessorial liability) and R v Lewis [2017] EWCA Crim 1734 on the approach to joint principalship. Members are regularly instructed in the following key areas of practice: Appellate Homicide Corporate manslaughter Terrorism Drug trafficking Serious and organised crime, including corruption and bribery International crime Human trafficking Modern Slavery Fraud Cyber crime Robbery Serious assaults Kidnaping Serious sexual offences Environmental health offences Trading standards prosecutions RSPCA prosecutions Our barristers offer expert advice to a wide range of external authorities and regularly provide training and lectures on current topics to other members of the legal profession, experts and those who work within the wider criminal justice system.

Regulatory

Our members have substantial experience defending individuals and companies in regulatory matters before professional tribunals or the FTT and above. What distinguishes us from other barristers specialising in regulatory work is that clients will have the benefit of our skills and experience as criminal advocates too. What is often required in contentious regulatory work is a robust defence, strategic advice and preparation, and skilful cross-examination of witnesses. The lack of hard-fought trial experience in some regulatory practitioners means that the witnesses may not be put under the degree of sustained pressure in cross-examination that the client is entitled to and expects. We believe that any individual or corporate entity that is facing a serious regulatory accusation is entitled to the same robust defence as a defendant in a criminal case. The consequence of a false regulatory accusation can be just as damaging and life changing as a false accusation of a criminal offence. Professionals can be vulnerable to malicious complaints. The only way to tackle these successfully is to use the skills honed in the criminal courts to uncover false accusations. We understand that these cases often cross over between criminal, civil, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. We are also very aware of both the commercial and emotional impact these cases can have on clients and have a lot of experience supporting our clients through the challenges. We are also well-versed working with insurers, unions and defence organisations. The team includes trained mediators and members with experience working within the City and in house with regulators.

Public Law & Human Rights

Judicial Review proceedings enable challenges to decisions made by Courts and Tribunals, by regulators and by bodies whose public functions impact upon individuals and companies. This jurisdiction is an important protection of the rights of the individual against administrative irrationality or excess. We have specialist experience seeking Judicial Review in cases flowing from our other practise areas, challenging decisions in criminal and quasi-criminal investigations. Members have acted for claimants seeking to challenge decisions made by the police, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the Information Commissioner, the Asset Recovery Agency, the Legal Services Commission, the Magistracy, Judges and various Tribunals. These cases have included challenges to the lawfulness of pre-charge search warrants, decisions to prosecute children, actions by solicitors resisting Special Procedure search warrants, challenges to the lawfulness of the application of the sending procedure by Magistrates Courts, preserving the anonymity of young offenders in extreme cases, applicability of the reasonable time requirements in Article 6 to enforcement of Confiscation Proceedings, decisions on appellate referral by the CCRC, treatment of prisoners and the review of Parole Board decisions. Within the criminal trial process, our members have expertise at first instance, on domestic appeal and applications in the European Court of Human Rights and the OHCHR, challenging a range of human rights violations, as well as the compatibility of primary and secondary legislation with the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms (ECHR) such as the hearsay provisions in CJA 2003, the reverse burden in s.90 Financial Services Act 2012, and the Attorney -General’s exercise of the right of nolle prosequi. We act nationally and internationally for people whose human rights are in issue in other forums including actions against the police, extradition, international law, in Prisoners’ Rights, and at Coronial Inquests. Members have advised and acted on behalf of individuals, governmental organisations and major NGO’s in providing international human rights expertise. Our members provide advice and representation in cases concerning Prison Law, including issues relating to the welfare of prisoners, to Parole Board hearings, and the release and recall of prisoners. Coronial Inquests engage the rights of many groups; members have experience representing interested parties, insurers and the families of the deceased. We offer particular expertise where there is a potential engagement of criminal or regulatory proceedings, acting for insurers and their policy holders.

Private Prosecutions

The prosecution of alleged criminals for wrongdoing is generally the domain of the Crown and its specialist agencies. But increasing budgetary constraints on investigating and prosecution agencies mean that a significant number of miscreants are able to avoid being held to account in the Criminal Courts for their actions. When State prosecutors decide that they cannot or will not prosecute, the law allows private individuals to prosecute allegations of wrong-doing. Initiating a private prosecution puts you in court as the prosecutor, adopting the mantle of the prosecution agency. Private prosecutions are a specialist area of the law. The right to prosecute, and seek punishment of offenders, brings with it the responsibility of ensuring a fair trial and the obligation to conform to all the rules applicable to any prosecuting agency. Those rules are often complex and diffuse. At Libertas Chambers, our barristers are experienced at liaising with potential prosecuting authorities and advising how to assemble the best case for the prosecution, taking the case to court and seeking justice, even where the Crown Prosecution Service or other prosecution agencies cannot or will not act. Importantly, this includes continuing advice on the recovery of compensation and some or all of the costs of litigation from defendants or from Central Funds. We start by helping you assess your evidence, advising you on the right forum in which to litigate, and on the merits of your case, then working with the best private prosecution solicitors to put together and finally to present your case at trial, ensuring continuity of representation and consistency of approach.

International Law

Libertas Chambers can field a range of quality advocates who are able to undertake advisory, consultancy and adversarial work in International Criminal Law including Genocide, Torture, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, including several members who are experienced in military tribunals. Members of Libertas Chambers have significant experience in international criminal law at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals, including appeals in cases concerning genocide, crimes against humanity and joint criminal enterprise in an international context. Members experience extends to issues of universal and extra territorial jurisdiction, transnational human trafficking, statelessness and citizenship stripping. Members of Libertas Chambers are available to advise on issues of complementarity arising in International Criminal Law investigations and the application of domestic criminal law in the context of war crimes, torture and other international crimes, to include where there are overlaps with International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Terrorism as an international crime, Extradition and Asset freezing regimes. We are particularly proud to have a number of members with expertise in international terrorism law who have acted in the UK and overseas in high profile cases at trial and on appeal. Our members are also experts in extradition law, particularly in the context of multinational financial crime. Members of Libertas Chambers also have recent experience across the Commonwealth and in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and have experience in death penalty cases overseas We have members on the lists and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in the Hague and who have appeared in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)> Members provide teaching and training in a wealth of international criminal law spheres.

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Registration is now open for our webinar on 24/02/2022 @ 5:30pm. Join @felicitygerry and Associate Professor Beatrice Krebs discussing joint enterprise and causation. Register here: eventbrite.co.uk/e/empty-nexu…

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Latest News
Felicity Gerry QC – BBC Newsnight – Virginia Giuffre v Prince Andrew Felicity Gerry QC has given expert interviews on the Virginia Giuffre v Prince Andrew litigation this week on BBC Newsnight, Sky News, and on various BBC Breakfast shows. She was asked about Judge Kaplan’s ruling on the motion to dismiss and the next steps in the process. Broadly speaking she said the following: This was a ruling on a motion to dismiss which is an early method of stopping the case. The judge is bound by law to assume the allegations are correct and to consider whether (a) they are not too vague to proceed and (b) the agreement with Epstein on one interpretation is not binding. These issues were decided (a) as not vague enough to be thrown out early but that does not decide whether they will be successful at trial and (b) the application of the agreement can be interpreted as not binding but that will have to be decided at trial too. There will now be a timetable to trial which will include dates for discovery on both sides – VG will be asked for clarity and PA will be asked for details. This is a normal legal process and judges are often asked to decide if each party has complied so expect further hearings along the way. There are more legal arguments likely on jurisdiction (whether VG has sufficient connection with the US for the law to apply) and limitation (whether the time limit to bring a claim is validly extended). These are NOT technicalities but how the law works to be fair to all parties to litigation. On the BBC interview with Prince Andrew she said that often an interview given in relation to allegations will be admissible at trial. Clients often do not interview well but that does not necessarily mean they have done what is alleged. That will be decided on all the evidence. View the BBC iPlayer video here or by clicking the image below. The Prince Andrew story begins at 24 minutes and our very own Felicity Gerry QC appears from 27 minutes onwards. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ Prince Andrew to face civil sex case – https://news.sky.com/ Virginia Giuffre ‘on campaign to expose evils of sexual abuse’, says lawyer: https://news.sky.com/  
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Darren Snow appears in Article 2 Jury Inquest Darren Snow, instructed by the Royal College of Nursing’s Head Office Legal Team, recently represented a mental health nurse at an Article 2 Jury Inquest at Bedford Coroner Court. The inquest investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of a prisoner, Ezra Tamiem, who was on remand at HMP Bedford. He was found hanging in his cell on the healthcare wing on the morning of the 16th July 2020 having barricaded his cell door and constructed a mannequin from clothing and bedding to give the impression he was asleep in bed to those checking him overnight. There had been concerns for his mental health and use of ligatures whilst on remand but his condition was believed to be much improved by July 2020. When assessed a few days before his death he was considered to be stable and presenting a low risk of suicide. He remained on the ACTT programme for “at risk” prisoners but observations overnight were reduced to 4 random observations. Time of death was not established. The jury reached a finding of Suicide with a narrative concluding that failures with the prison’s care, risk assessment and overnight observations contributed to the death.
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Felicity Gerry QC Elected As ADC-ICT Council Member Libertas Chambers is delighted to announce that, in addition to her practice, Felicity Gerry QC has become a member of the Disciplinary Council of the Association of Defence Council practising before the International Courts and Tribunals (ADC – ICT). Felicity works internationally and specialises in domestic and international criminal law with a focus on complicity, including alleged joint criminal enterprise and command responsibility/ leadership liability.  
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Latest Insights
Changes to the Law Governing Criminal Damage to Monuments and Memorials As the ‘Colston Four’ stand trial at Bristol Crown Court this week, Fahrid Chishty assesses a new amendment making its way through Parliament that seeks to tighten the law on criminal damage to monuments and memorials in England and Wales.   Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
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Do the challenges presented by Covid-19 call for further debate on Trial by Judge Alone? In light of the serious threat currently posed by the Omicron variant and the challenges this may present to the effective management of Crown Court trials in England and Wales in the months ahead, is it time to consider whether there might be a renewed appetite for judge alone trials in the Crown Court? Particularly, could accused persons be given the option to waive their right to trial by jury and to opt instead for a judge alone trial if they wish? Or might such change represent a dangerous thin end of the wedge to the erosion of jury trial for those accused of serious offences? In this article, we examine some of these issues while conducting a comparative analysis of the position in a selection of other common law jurisdictions. Adrian Kayne is experienced as both a Junior and Leading Junior in the following principle practice areas: Fraud and Financial Crime, Homicide, Organised Crime, Sexual Offences, Confiscation, Appeals & General Crime.   Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
Adrian Kayne
Sentencing young people – the Scottish approach Effective from the 26th January 2022 the Scottish Sentencing Council have produced a sentencing guideline which changes the approach taken to children who find themselves before the criminal courts. The guideline requires the courts to have regard to rehabilitation as a primary feature of the sentencing process – acknowledging that the capacity for change is greater.  Crucially the guideline will apply to all those who are under the age of 25. This article looks at whether enshrining these principles for those who are aged 18-25 would consolidate the ‘cliff-edge’ approach to sentencing that has emerged from a number of Court of Appeal decisions notably in R v Clarke and others [2018] EWCA Crim 185. Marie Spenwyn is a criminal defence practitioner who frequently appears in serious cases involving defendants who are children.  She is a committee member of the Youth Practitioners Association (YPA) and is a member of an ICCA working group tasked with developing a national training course for the bar focusing on representing children in the criminal justice system.   Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
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Latest Events
Maternal Sentencing & The Rights of the Child – Webinar Video We recently held a webinar considering the current state of the law on sentencing mothers, with reference to research on the experiences of children whose mothers are sentenced to imprisonment in England and Wales. Drawing on detailed empirical research with children, caregivers, and Crown Court judiciary, the research presented in this webinar provided insight into the reasons for the differentiated treatment and its implications, and asks why do we send mothers to prison at all? The Webinar was presented by Felicity Gerry QC and Dr Shona Minson Felicity Gerry QC defends mothers as accused persons, including recently appealing sentences for mothers whose children were shockingly taken into prison in the context of financial offending. Dr Shona Minson is currently a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford and author of the book Maternal Sentencing and the Rights of the Child.     To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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The Use Of Rap Lyrics In Criminal Trials – Webinar This webinar presents the research of Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah on the serious concerns that arise when police, prosecutors and courts do not acknowledge or appreciate the artistic value of rap music. An analysis of over 30 recent appeals identified that most of the defendants in ‘rap evidence’ trials were black men and boys — particularly teenagers — which falls in line with the overwhelming over-representation of Black and minority ethnic boys within the prison population. We consider the disproportionate and discriminatory treatment of black people throughout the criminal justice process, and how the use of rap lyrics as evidence feeds into that. Presented by Felicity Gerry QC and Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah Felicity Gerry QC is well known as successfully defending black and minority ethnic people, including youths, accused of murder alleged to be ‘gang related’, where the prosecution sought to rely on rap music tropes. Dr Owusu-Bempah is an Associate Professor of criminal law and criminal evidence. She is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy and an Associate Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Register today – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/209802423697/ To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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Criminal Justice Responses to Maternal Filicide – Webinar Video We recently held a webinar presenting recently published research that reveals, through an analysis of cases, that women suspected of killing their newborn children are some of the most vulnerable in society and that infanticide is not just a historical issue but one that has modern implications. Women are less likely to commit a violent crime, but maternal-infant homicide is an enduring form of offending that needs to be understood in a wider social context. We will discuss legal, policy, and gender issues that arise in criminal justice and the implications for legal professionals when women are suspected of killing newborn children or harming foetuses. The Webinar was presented by Felicity Gerry QC and Dr Emma Milne Felicity Gerry QC is well known for defending mothers, including those accused of homicide and endangerment offences in relation to their young children. Dr. Emma Milne is Assistant Professor in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at Durham University Law School. The focus of her research is the social, legal, and cultural controls and regulations of all women. She is currently looking at attitudes and perspectives held by legal professionals to women suspected of causing the death of their infants. Her project is funded by the BA/Leverhulme Small Grants.   To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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